The troubled Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, 50, was joined by older sister Kathy Richards for some family support— and media training!
"During the breaks, she would go directly to Kim's side and coach her on how to better answer Dr. Phil's questions," the insider explains of Paris and Nicky Hilton's poised mother, 56.
During the tense taping, Kim finally admitted to falling off the wagon before her shocking drunken arrest, though she copped to stumbling only very recently.
And when Kim stormed off the set during the TV doc's no-holds-barred questioning, it was Kathy who brought her back, the source reveals.
"Kathy talked Kim down, and got her to return and finish," the insider says. "She was definitely acting as Kim's protector. She wanted to make sure she was being looked after."
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, the former child star initially hesitated when Dr. Phil offered to pay for another stint in rehab. But over the weekend, Kim checked into a Malibu treatment facility.
The shocking interview will air in its entirety on Tuesday.
Watch: Kim Richards emotional Dr. Phil interview preview